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The Lost Coast: Mattole to Black Sands Beach

Petrolia, California

based on 11 reviews



25.05 miles

Elevation Gain

653 ft

Route Type



Added by Whitney Whitehouse

The Lost Coast: Mattole to Black Sands Beach takes you along stunning coastal views on this 25 mile stretch of coastline with nicely laid out campsites and easy access to water. Need to have shuttle car (best to leave your car at Shelter Cove TH and take shuttle up). Duration: 3 days/2 nights.

This is an absolutely stunning 25 mile thru-hike on the northern part of California's coast. To accomplish this hike, you'll either need to bring 2 cars or use a shuttle service. It's recommended that you drop one car at the Shelter Cove Trailhead (40.0455053,-124.0778196) and either use one of the shuttle services to drive you up to Mattole or drive your second car up there. Keep in mind that it takes approximately 1.5 hours to drive between the two trailheads.

Along your trek, there are several places to camp for the night. This map lays out the designated areas. Be sure to pick up a more detailed one at the ranger station.

Things to keep in mind:

  • Make sure you keep an eye out for the areas that are impassible at high tide
  • Check tide charts and weather reports before heading out on the trail
  • If rain is forecasted, bring your rain gear and rain cover for your pack
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The Lost Coast: Mattole to Black Sands Beach Reviews

Amazing scenery and varied landscape on this hike, found the best camping spot right near the beach! Agree with everyone else, the sand hiking - although gorgeous is a ballbreaker!

Did this twice - one as a yo-yo and the other just backpacked in to Big Flat and relaxed for a couple days. The LCT is such a rad place! Saw whales, otters, sea lions, bear (tracks), foxes, turkeys, deer, jackrabbits, snakes, western fence lizards, and a whole host of birds. Definitely a place to go to see wildlife. Go in March-Aprils to see the wildflowers!

Was fortunate to have amazing weather when I went. Super light winds with early morning fog which cleared up in the afternoon (actually got sunny and warm later in the day). Rough terrain at some points - boulders, sand, ... etc. - but not too tough of a trip. Loved the fact that we were right along the coast for the whole trip. One of my favorite things about this trip was watching the fog roll over the hills in the morning. Would definitely recommend to anyone who loves that coastal norcal vibe!

Leave No Trace

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!


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